What do you want to be when you grow up?

What do you want to be when you grow up? My answer will be “ask me in 20 years”.. I might have an answer for you.

By then I’ll be 60 and what is called a GRAND MASTER..and NO, I don’t plan on growing up anytime soon so, I’ll keep you guessing.

I am doing what I want to do and that is competing at a high level and inspiring others for what is possible. I live my life to learn about what I love and that has always centered around exercise and nutrition. As a coach I hope to teach my athletes that they can reach their goals, even in times of struggle and frustration and set backs. It’s not if, it’s when. There will be those days.

As an athlete at any level, but especially at the level between being the best and just not good enough to make it to the top, is a very frustrating place to be. I should know, I have been here for 20 years. I have been racing as a top level Age Grouper for 20 years. Never good enough to make it to the PRO level. I have raced Elite at local events and even been invited to race at a few events to UP the field of talent.. I’ve even signed an autograph or two.

Some days, it could break me if I let it. There are days that I train for 4-7 hours, some non-stop. Other days, I train 2 or 3 times to get all the training in and manage it around family, coaching, friends, cleaning the house, laundry, cooking, kids to school, dogs, play time, birthday parties, and let’s not forget the sleep thing either.

But, the truth is…. I LOVE WHAT I DO… Yes, I get tired, we all do. But, there is not one day that I don’t get off my bike and say “that sucked” or gone for a run and dreaded every step.. Swimming and the smoothness of the water gliding over me, absolute LOVE.

The WORLD IS MY OFFICE… I am so fortunate. I wear what I want which is usually some cool training gear from one of the super cool gear companies out there. I can look like a total Tri-Geek because I sort of am…and there isn’t a day that goes by that some random person doesn’t ask me about what I eat, what I train in, what gear I use, what my recommendation are for bikes, wheels, helmets, running shoes, compression yes or no and general training and racing gear. I love talking about this stuff. There are some really amazing companies out there.

So, when you ask me what I want to be when I grow up, I will say “I do what I Love and Love what I do.”


Mastering the Journey

What exactly does “Masters” mean when it comes to sports?

For most endurance sports, running, cycling, swimming and triathlon, Masters means 40 and up.. and Yes, I am 40. Born May 6, 1970. In my iRuniTri Blog I will be writing about my own journey as a “Masters” athlete as well as other information I think can be used to hopefully inspire others on their own journey, whether it’s Master’s or younger. First timers or veterans to endurance sports.

The JOURNEY: World Championships 70.3 Clearwater November 13… Then my Road to Ironman Texas. Within my journey, I have the challenge of being a wife, a mom, and a coach. I have the hopes of not just finishing, but being competitive against top level athletes.

In a summary I will go through what has gotten me here so far. My last Ironman was Ironman Brazil 2003. I took over 6 year off from triathlon and spent those years running road races and taking care of my family. Last year I decided since I was coaching some athletes for triathlon, I would try racing again as well. Little did I know what I was getting myself back into.

My first triathlon back was Couples Triathlon July 2009.. I had a great race until my knee gave out and was in agonizing pain to the finishline, then was carried to the Med Tent.. 4 days later I had my 3rd knee surgery. My knee surgery was on Thursday, I was on my bike on Friday. I was not going down with out a fight. Within 2 weeks I was riding outdoors again and gaining strength. By September I competed in the Austin Triathlon, October I competed in Lifetime Toyota Open Championship doing well in both races. I felt strong and ready for my next race.

Longhorn Half Ironman 1.2 mile Swim, 56 Mile Bike, 13.1 mile Run. My nerves got to me and I raced hard, by the time I got to the run. I was in a bit of pain but pushed through managing to finish 5th in my Age Group. This set me up for a slot to the World Championships 70.3 in Clearwater. I was esctatic, and completely surprised.

I had over a year to train and compete in various races and distances. I felt great and ready to train. A big bulk of my training came around the time I was turning 40, which if you go through my www.fortytoforty.blogspot.com you can read about.

Since then I have continued my training and racing, as well as my coaching.

I was 2nd Masters at Captex Triathlon which was a Championship race; I got a 4th Place Age Group finish at Buffalo Springs Half Ironman;won Regional Champion Xterra Trail Series, finishing 10th overall at Nationals,
I was 1st Overall Amateur and Overall Master at the Austin Triathlon. It has been a very busy year for me.

So now with 43 days left until World Championship, I will try to share not just the physical challenges, but also the emotional and mental. Then going into Ironman training and hopefully “Mastering” what it takes to compete with the best.

Through this journey, I will go through some of the ways I am training myself as well as coaching others. How I manage my nutrition, recovery, and sleep. Keeping in mind it is a fine balance with my family. I am a full time MOM, full time Coach, and full time Athlete. May you enjoy the JOURNEY…


Amazing Awaits

“Amazing Awaits”is the slogan this year for the USA Olympics. I know because I was just there for USA Cycling. “Amazing” that word sure holds a ton of weight. Yes, these athletes are truly amazing at what they do, and so are the coaches and performance staff that work together to create perfection. I tried to get to the trials for the marathon, just to be a small part of something so great. I didn’t make it.. But, I have never lost sight of the dream, it has just changed as I have gotten older.

Yes, I made it to the Olympic Training Center as a USA Cycling Coach. It’s a course, but I was there, I felt the energy, the excitement. Maybe not in the capacity as actually being an athlete who qualifies but of one who had a dream to.

I am an athlete, I may not have made the Olympic Trials but I have never stopped training or racing… I love this sport that I do.. Running.. Cycling..Swimming. I will continue to cross finish lines hopefully stronger each time.

Now, I am excited to be able to take my knowledge of racing and training for the last 17 years and encourage other to start, or get stronger. Being a USA Triathlon, Track and Field, and USA Cycling Coach carry with them a responsibility to teach others that “AMAZING AWAITS”!! Who knows maybe one day one of my athletes will be standing on that podium!! Never Stop Dreaming!!


Get Motivated-2010

2010 … the teen years for the 2000’s. Are you gonna be a rebellious teenager, or are you gonna get motivated and get it together. The choice is yours, the time is now. We are well into the month and as we get further into the year, stay focused.

What you told yourself you wanted to do, what you wanna be, who you wanna become. HARDER, BETTER, FASTER, STRONGER!! Stay Commited, don’t compromise. And please don’t make excuses. We all have busy lives, yes some more than others. But it’s time to prioritize, the difference you make in your self will be positive when it involves your health which means it benefits everyone who is in your life. Not only will your positive attitude affect others, you might get someone else motivated. It happens like that. Be an inspiration.

I know when I look back on these years, I wanna say “I nailed it” and point to everyone I inspired and those that inspired me. We never do it alone. Help me help you!!

My teens weren’t great, yes I was a rebellious teenager. But 2010 I’m looking you in the face and I feel GOOD, I feel STRONG, I may fall down but I will stand tall with my fist pumping in the air and keep moving forward.. ARE YOU WITH ME?? SAY YES!!!!!


When the Weather Outside is Frightful…

What kind of athlete are you? Are you the kind that makes excuses when the weather is cold, rainy, or just plain miserable? Or the kind that takes advantage of the opportunity to train in inclement weather?

I like to think training in bad weather can not just make us physically stronger, but mentally it’s a doozie. If your a fair weathered athlete then when the weather goes bad on race day, after all that training, you gonna quit? NOT ME. That which doesn’t destroy me makes me stronger. Training in extreme weather can definitely make you strong. I’m not saying don’t train smart. Wear the appropiate clothing, have the right fuel, water, and let someone know where your going, especially if your going on trail runs.

Take advantage of training against strong winds and use that to help you build power and strength. Nature has given us elements to build us not just physically but mentally and just like everyday, every race can bring on those different elements. Don’t let that break your mental game. When you train in any kind of weather, you can race in every kind of weather. Good weather is just the icing on the cake, but be ready for anything.

So on race day if the weather turns bad, you can have a smile on your face as big as the Grinch when his heart grew 5x the size.. Before the race starts and the reason why.. You’ve train in this before. Been there done that!!! See you at the finish!!!


Building your Engine

The method behind the madness. I’m talking about going SLOW. Staying in a low heart rate zone. For those of you like me, this is a very trying time and takes tons of patience. I don’t like to slow down. But, when you’re trying to get faster, going slow in the beginning or BASE Phase is what it’s all about, especially when it comes to building speed endurance.

WHY?? you ask.. Well, our bodies can adapt to being very efficient machines, but they have to be trained to do so. What I mean by this is, even for the “SKINNY” people, we all have fat to burn , we have to train our bodies to burn our almost endless fat stores rather then our carbs or glycogen stores.

What happens when we go slow? We breath slower which means our bodies are getting more oxygen in our blood. Fat needs OXYGEN to burn. When your short of breath.. this is lack of oxygen which means your fat doesn’t have the oxygen it needs to be burned. Instead your body switches to carbs, and those come in a very finite supply and once those are gone our bodies start to do crazy things, actually without sugar, our brains won’t work. Sugars are the source of fuel for our amazing brains. So, lets keep the brain fed and use our fat for energy, we’ll last longer that way.

But if I am going slow, how in the world will I get faster? We’ll your heart is becoming more efficient in this stage AND let’s not forget we will add in some high drills. Just enough to produce lactate, which is also a fuel our muscles use, and flush it out with recovery. Nothing longer then 2 minutes or shorter then 30 seconds. It takes our bodies about 15 seconds to get in this zone anyways. Then for a full recovery, repeat this about 5 times and you’ll be well on your way. You do this about every 3-4 days.

This type of training lasts anywhere from 3-6 weeks. Blow it and your engine will not reach it’s full potential for racing. Which means NO TEMPOS, NO MILE REPEATS, Etc. Etc. and if your heart rate goes high on a run up a hill, well then, WALK!!! Same on the bike. DON’T Blow it and you know the minute you start BLOWING your Heart Rate is too HIGH!!!Let those other people pass you. Either they are truly faster, which means they’re ahead of you anyways OR they don’t know what there doing. They’ll be eating your dirt soon enough.

Remember this phase doesn’t last forever, your build will come soon enough. As well as your peak and racing then you’ll be begging for your base phase ;) .. Just to start the cycle over. So, be patient, be smart and enjoy this time.. cause this to shall pass


Sometimes it Just Hurts

Ever have those days.. you get up and it just hurts. You have a plan but everytime you turn around you hit a wall, those are hard days. You have a hard time seeing the other side of the Hill or Mountain or whatever it is your climbing.

Whether your running, riding, swimming through that ROUGH water or just living life.. we all have days like that. Legs feel tired, shoulders hurt, heart is pounding or life just isn’t what you expected it to be and it can take it’s toll, not just emotionally but physically.

As an athlete, the training we do helps us to cope with all those things that create instability in our lives. We can not control the world but we can control how we react to it, and part of that is being physically fit.

Today I was riding head on into the wind.. BIG WIND, my legs were hurting and I was feeling tired. Then somewhere in that misery and pain, a grin crept across my face that only a million dollars and a brand new Corvette(paid for of course) could have made bigger.. Somewhere a switch went off and the pain turned into pleasure… PURE JOY!! Man it felt good. I LOVE THAT PLACE.

Going 30+miles an hour on a push on a straight away. I feel like I’m FINALLY slowing down, not my speed though, just me doing something for me. We rush around all day and it’s when I am running fast or riding and pushing as hard as I can that I can finally BREATHE.. Let out that silent sigh “AAAAHHH” It feels good.

Just when I questioned why I do what I do.. It all fell into place, that place just for me and a satisified smile crept on my face like the cheshire cat!! I do what I do because I know that I will overcome that place of pain, that place of hurt, that place in life that sometimes just wasn’t what I expected and will be able to overcome it. No, it’s never easy but nothing good ever is.

Give it a try, I promise once you find that place there is no turning back


What’s the KEY???

What’s the best way to train?? The best way to stay fit?? The best way to eat well?? The best way to build endurance??

CONSISTENCY… If I say it once I say it a thousand times, just keep on keeping on. You get up everyday and consistently brush your teeth so you don’t get cavities or sometimes worse, have bad breath. You consistently go to work, eat, sleep. So what is the difference with training? Make it part of your LIFE. EVERYDAY!! The way you eat, the activities you do, even the company you keep. I’m not saying don’t hang with the …unfit… but I am saying, hang out with people who will help keep you in the best shape of your life.

Like Dave Ramsey says “you wanna be RICH.. Do RICH people things” … I say “you wanna be FIT..Do FIT people things.” and you don’t have to go broke doing either!!! Maybe you’ll just rub off on the unfit.. and if not then.. sad for them. As for the RICH hopefully they rub off on me:).

How do you stay consistent?? Why Brush your teeth? BECAUSE IT”S GOOD FOR YOU!!! yes, I know it only takes 2 minutes to brush your teeth and that’s if your doing it correctly. And training can take up to… well that depends on you. But if you add some friends into the mix… I can train all day.. and I bet you can too!!

But everyday?? Well you sleep everyday.. Eat everyday.. So..Yes. I’m not saying workout like crazy everyday, but have a consistent schedule. Change things up. Don’t run the same run everyday, but if you have to change it up. Run faster for 30 seconds a few times add some knee lifts. Do what you need to do. Build on your fitness regularly and make it part of your life everyday!!!


Eat those Carbs??

The myth about Carb-Loading and why I say that. Why eat more carbs before a long distance event or any event for that matter? My first example is a 5k you don’t ever need to load up for this particular distance, it’s just not long enough and for that matter neither is a 10k. As a matter of fact if your doing your TAPER (which is cutting back on training before your big event) correctly, you are already dropping your energy expenditure which means… your burning less fuel and storing energy. Adding extra calories on to that if your dropping your workout only means one thing… WEIGHT GAIN.

The only weight you should be gaining before a race is from water and that’s usually from decreased sweat loss. You add extra carbs and calories to less activity and to me that does not add up right.

Carbo loading doesn’t mean upping your calories, it means adding carbs and taking away from something else like maybe fats. Or ideally, since at this point you should be so trained that your nutrition has been great all along and you don’t have to add much except maybe starting 2 days before the race adding a sport drink like Accelerade or PowerBar drink mix. Keep things bland and usual no one likes race day surprises. AND you really don’t want to feel bloated race morning. Also, adding carbs the day before the race.. that’s like studying for your finals the night before.. Good Luck, but you’ll probably get an F and I say you deserve it. Be PREPARED, practice during training, not during your race or you’ll get a DNF and that means did not finish, which just sucks.

If you make sure your nutrition is good the WEEK/WEEKS leading up to your big event as long as you did your training… I expect nothing but a stella performance!!!!!Now GO EAT SOME NOODLES:)


Follow you Heart

Following your heart, so much easier said then done. Sometimes this just leads to heart break and drama. Other times it breathes new life into us. Our heart gives us passion, love, and emotion. But our physical heart gives us LIFE.

Our hearts can tell us almost immediately if we are, or are not in shape. Sometimes it just takes a few minutes. Our hearts can also tell us if we are sick.

For training, our heart is a real indicator for how well we are doing. First thing in the morning, our Resting Heart Rate, or RHR tells us if we are overtraining, tired, or… doing everything just right.

We’ll try to keep this simple because heart rate training can get a bit scientifical and complex and technical and I really don’t wanna lose my crowd.

So first thing is getting a BASELINE in the morning.. RHR and by that I don’t mean get up start cleaning, getting ready, drinking your coffee (for me DietDP..We all have a flaw right?) whatever you do in the morning. STOP!!

STAY IN BED.. Lay there and RELAX. Take 2 60 second counts of your pulse. Write it down, this gives you a starting place. If this goes up during training you could be overtraining or overtired. Try to keep a log and make a habit of this especially if you are training for a race.

Now for the ZONES.. And NOT the Speeding kind even though we love to speed.

For training purposes I’m going to use 6 zones:

REC(Recovery)40-50% and below- Is just that. Your body is recovering from intense physical activity

AERO(Aerobic)50-60%-this is the zone where you strengthen your heart, improve muscle mass, reduce fat, cholesterol, blood pressure and other degenerative diseases. This is not the zone that will increase your fitness, strength or endurance but it will ward off health issues.

LT(Lactate Threshold)60-70%- this zone starts burning the fat, something we all have on some level. This zone increases your bodies ability to use fat for energy or fuel.

AC(Aerobic Conditioning)70-80%-this is where you are actually increasing the size of your heart muscle, your lung capacity and respiratory rate. In this zone is where the body increases it’s ability to exercise for a longer period of time.

AT(Anaerobic Threshold)80-90%-the “BURN ZONE” and it feels good, we just usually can’t stay here for more than an hour. This zone is used for tempo training. Here is where we get FASTER, LEANER, and STRONGER. Our intensity here is much higher.

VO2max-this Zone is saved for all out bursts or training intervals, with recovery and aerobic zones to get the full benefits. This is an extremely High Zone and the risk for injury can be potentially high so make sure you know your zones.

Training your heart and following your zones is crucial to gaining fitness. So get out there get that blood pumping and GO BREAK SOME HEARTS!!!